The Basics of Poker

Poker is a family of card games that are played worldwide. They vary in the deck configuration, number of cards dealt face up or face down, and rules. Each game has a specific set of betting rounds and a winner is determined by the player with the best hand.

The first round of betting begins with a pre-determined amount of money placed by a designated player, called the ante. This money is placed into a pot, which the players must place equal amounts into before the next betting round begins.

After the ante, the player to the left of the dealer (the small blind) is the first to act, by folding, checking, or making a bet. If no players make a bet, the big blind may check or raise his own bet to continue the betting.

If no bets have been made, the next card is dealt (the flop) face up to all the players. The dealer then “burns” one card from the top of the deck and deals the first three community cards (the flop) face up to all remaining players.

Each player then reveals their hand and bets once more to determine the winning hand. The winner is the player with the best hand, which can be any combination of five cards that is either the same as or better than the other players’ hands. Examples of hands include straights, flushes, full houses, and three of a kind.